COEXIST. In the modern neighborhood, there’s no better way to declare one’s trendy tolerance than to put that sticker on your bumper. Toss out your notes from your old days in Sunday School; theology for the 21st Century requires a new primer to operate the culture’s newest upgrade on your spirituality platform…
COEXIST is the attempt to blend all religions into an acrostic that gets everybody into the blended pool. C: the half-moon star from Islam. O: the pagan pentacle, as a five-point star. E: the Hindu Om, their sound of life. X: the Star of David, embraced by the Jews. I: the Humanist symbol of the individual. S: the Yin Yang of Taoism, portraying balance. T: the Cross of the Christian faith.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) – whose insightful opinions span the entire spectrum of life – has captured the core belief of the modern era with her recent declaration that “all religions are equally valid and teach the same thing.” Is she right?
Ocasio-Cortez self-identifies as Catholic; her view of religion is the position recently clarified by the Pope. In a compact created by Francis and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb – considered to be the most important imam in Sunni Islam – this “truth” is declared: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept…”
COEXIST is a clever ruse to pretend that we live at a time when all belief systems can operate with freedom to be different… but that ambivalence has no tolerance for people maintaining allegiance to the timeless standards of truth declared in the Scriptures.
Dr. Serene Jones – president of Union Theological Seminary in New York and president of the American Academy for Religion in 2016 – sings a solid harmony to Ocasio-Cortez: “To say our prayers ascend to the ultimate truth the space of divine love, and we share in that space is not a nonsensical claim to make at all. It’s one that I would endorse.”
Peter was a fisherman – without academic credentials – who spent three years with the Second Person of the Triune God; his clarity on the subject is refreshingly succinct. To the leaders of the “X” in COEXIST: “Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by this name… there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12).
Religions are inherently mutually exclusive: their positions regarding God, man and eternity immediately separate them into irreconcilable differences. They could all be wrong… but they cannot all be right. Does it matter? It will… when your context shifts from a culture in conflict to an eternity without second chances…
COEXIST. Who’s right? The Pope and the Imam? Ocasio-Cortez and Jones? I have decided to trust Jesus and the Scriptures…